It’s no secret that kids these days spend a lot of time on their phones. After all, the ever-evolving technology has become a seemingly endless source of information and entertainment. But if your children or grandchildren are using their phones right before bed, it might not be so great for their health, according to a new study.
For the study, published in Global Pediatric Health, researchers at Penn State College of Medicine spoke with parents of 234 children between the ages of 8 and 17 about their kids’ sleeping and technology habits. The researchers found that the kids’ use of technology before bed may not only negatively affect their sleep, but also their Body Mass Index (BMI).
Medical student Caitlyn Fuller said the results may actually suggest a vicious cycle of this continuous use of digital devices and higher BMIs in children.
“We saw technology before bed being associated with less sleep and higher BMIs,” Fuller said. “We also saw this technology use being associated with more fatigue in the morning, which circling back, is another risk factor for higher BMIs. So we’re seeing a loop pattern forming.”
We all know how important sleep is for a child’s development, so it’s no surprise researchers are now interested in learning more about the connection between screen time before bed and how well those children slept, as well as how this technology use affects other aspects of their health.
Is screen time before bed always bad?
It’s worthwhile to note that this study is a correlation, and does not necessarily prove that screen time before bed directly causes the higher BMI. It’s also important to keep in mind that this is a study based off self-reported data from parents, so it’s not guaranteed to be completely reliable from every single one of them. However, it is a fascinating observation about youngsters who use technology before bed and opens the door for larger questions to be answered down the line.
In the meantime, Dr. Marsha Novick, associate professor of pediatrics and family and community medicine, said this study is a great way for pediatricians to talk to parents about the use of technology.
“Although there are many benefits to using technology, pediatricians may want to counsel parents about limiting technology for their kids, particularly at bedtime, to promote healthy childhood development and mental health,” Novick said.
Sounds like a promising start to us!
h/t Science Daily
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